>> Thursday, May 08, 2014
TITLE: The Kraken King Part 3: The Kraken King and the Fox's Den
AUTHOR: Meljean Brook
SETTING: Steampunk version of the 19th century
TYPE: Adventure romance
SERIES: Third part of 4th full length book in the Iron Seas series
After a harrowing escape, Zenobia, Ariq, and their company take refuge in a gold rush town—but their temporary port is just a respite before traveling to the dangerous smugglers’ dens. Ariq is determined to uncover the men responsible for the threat to Krakentown, even if it means confronting the notorious den lords.
But when he discovers evidence in Zenobia’s letters connecting her to the Horde rebellion, he realizes that the threat is far greater than he had suspected. His loyalties torn, Ariq must distance himself from the fascinating woman he desperately wants to hold closer.
Stunned and hurt by Ariq’s inexplicable coldness, Zenobia prepares to leave the dens and continue her journey to the Red City. But in the smugglers’ dens, danger lurks around every corner, and all of her protection is gone…
Link to my review of Part 1
Link to my review of Part 2
Ok, so I'm assuming that if you're reading this, you've read parts 1 and 2 (but not necessarily this part, so no spoilers for that here).
Part III sees Zenobia and Ariq and their companions arriving at the smugglers' dens, after the boilerworm attack in their camp that injured Cooper, one of Zenobia's bodyguards. While Cooper's leg is being repaired, Ariq continues to seek information about the flyers that have been attacking airships in the area. It's quite clear the smugglers know something. Meanwhile, Zenobia wonders whether she should leave her bodyguards behind and push on to the Red City, to make sure her friend gets there in time to hide her pregnancy.
The plotty stuff and the world-building were fantastic here. I expected something completely different from the smugglers' dens, something more furtive and ramshackle. What we get is a sort of Wild West with different areas dominated by people who are a cross between warlords and the mafia. I found both the visuals and the social aspects fascinating.
One of my favourite moments in this part was Ariq's discussions with one of the smugglers, a young guy who's taken over one of the dens from the previous big boss and is trying to do his best, albeit in a way that Ariq finds very problematic. I found their interactions really touching, and the smuggler was one of those characters you just want to know more about.
But it's not just plot and world-building... oh, no! Part II ended with Ariq making a discovery about Zenobia's identity, and in this section, he bravely attempts to distance himself from her. And oh, the lovely, lovely, angsty longing! Things definitely move forward here, and in a way that really make me want to read Part IV asap! Well, I'm late writing this review, so my wait is almost over. I had visitors all week (thus my late review) and the last has just gone. As soon as I post this, my kindle is coming out!